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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A cheerful life is what the Muses love; / A soaring spirit is their prime delight.

A perfect woman, nobly planned, / To warn, to comfort, and command.

A primrose by a river’s brim / A yellow primrose was to him, / And it was nothing more.

A simple child, / That lightly draws its breath, / And feels its life in every limb, / What should it know of death?

All things that love the sun are out of doors.

And he is oft the wisest man / Who is not wise at all.

And much it grieved my heart to think / What man has made of man.

Books, we know, / Are a substantial world, pure and good.

But hushed be every thought that springs / From out the bitterness of things.

But shapes that come not at an earthly call, / Will not depart when mortal voices bid.

But who would force the soul, tilts with a straw / Against a champion cased in adamant.

By strength of heart the sailor fights with roaring seas.

Come forth into the light of things, / Let Nature be your teacher.

Death is the quiet haven of us all.

Disasters, do the best we can, / Will reach both great and small; / And he is oft the wisest man / Who is not wise at all.

Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know, / Are a substantial world, both pure and good; / Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood, / Our pastime and our happiness will grow.

Elysian beauty, melancholy grace, / Brought from a pensive through a happy place.

Every great and original writer, in proportion as he is great or original, must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished.

Full twenty times was Peter fear’d / For once that Peter was respected.

Give unto me, made lowly wise, / The spirit of self-sacrifice; / The confidence of reason give; / And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live.

God made the flowers to beautify / The earth and cheer man’s careful mood; / And he is happiest who hath power / To gather wisdom from a flower, / And wake his heart in every hour / To pleasant gratitude.

Great God, I had rather be / A Pagan suckled in some creed outworn; / So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, / Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn.

He is oft the wisest man / Who is not wise at all.

Heaven lies about us in our infancy.

Him only pleasure leads and peace attends, / Him, only him, the shield of Jove defends, / Whose means are fair and spotless as his ends.

How fast has brother followed / From sunshine to the sunless land.

Human nature … / Is not a punctual presence, but a spirit / Diffused through time and space.

Hunt half a day for a forgotten dream.

It is joy to think the best we can of human kind.

Joy? a moon by fits reflected in a swamp or watery bog.

Love betters what is best, / Even here below, but more in heaven above.

Meekness is the cherish’d bent / Of all the truly great and all the innocent.

Men are we, and must grieve when even the shade / Of that which once was great is passed away.

Men do not make their homes unhappy because they have genius, but because they have not enough genius.

Mightier far / Than strength of nerve or sinew, or the sway / Of magic, potent over sun and star, / Is Love, though oft to agony distrest, / And though his favourite seat be feeble woman’s breast.

Minds that have nothing to confer / Find little to perceive.

My heart leaps up when I behold / A rainbow in the sky: / So was it when my life began, / So is it now I am a man; / So be it when I shall grow old, / Or let me die.

Nature never did betray / The heart that loved her.

Nor less I deem that there are powers / Which of themselves our minds impress; / That we can feel this mind of ours / In a wide passiveness.

O dearest, dearest boy, my heart / For better love would seldom yearn, / Could I but teach the hundredth part / Of what from thee I learn.

Ocean is a mighty harmonist.

One impulse from a vernal wood / May teach you more of man, / Of moral evil and of good, / Than all the sages can.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.

Perfect woman, nobly planned, / To warn, to comfort, and command; / And yet a spirit still, and bright / With something of an angel light.

Plain living and high thinking.

Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is the countenance of all science.

Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge—it is as immortal as the heart of man.

Shapes that come not at an earthly call / Will not depart when mortal voices bid.

She lived unknown, and few could know / When Lucy ceased to be; / But she is in her grave, and oh / The difference to me!

Small service is true service while it lasts. / Of humblest friends, bright creature! scorn not one: / The daisy, by the shadow that it casts, / Protects the lingering dewdrop from the sun.To a child.

Soft is the music that would charm for ever; / The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly.

Something between a hindrance and a help.

Stern daughter of the voice of God.Of Duty.

Strongest minds / Are often those of whom the noisy world / Hears least.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings; / Our meddling intellect / Misshapes the beauteous form of things: / We murder to dissect.

Sweetest melodies are those that are by distance made more sweet.

The child is father of the man.

The clouds that gather round the setting sun / Do take a sober colouring from an eye / That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality.

The eye—it cannot choose but see; / We cannot bid the ear be still; / Our bodies feel, where’er they be, / Against or with our will.

The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly.

The gods approve the depth, and not the tumult, of the soul.

The good die first, / And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust / Burn to the socket.

The good old rule / Sufficeth them, the simple plan, / That they should take who have the power, / And they should keep who can.

The heavy and the weary weight / Of all this unintelligible world.

The intellectual power, through words and things / Went sounding on a dim and perilous way.

The music in my heart I bore / Long after it was heard no more.

The primal duties shine aloft, like stars; / The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless, / Are scattered at the feet of man, like flowers.

The sea that bares her bosom to the moon.

The silence that is in the starry sky.

The silent heavens have goings-on; / The stars have tasks.

The still, sad music of humanity.

The wiser mind / Mourns less for what age takes away / Than what it leaves behind.

The wisest, happiest of our kind are they / That ever walk content with Nature’s way.

The world is too much with us; late and soon, / Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; / Little we see in Nature that is ours.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, / The earth and every common sight, / To me did seem / Apparelled in celestial light, / The glory and the freshness of a dream. / It is not now as it has been of yore; / Turn wheresoe’er I may, / By night or day, / The things which I have seen, I now can see no more.

Think you, ’mid all this mighty sum / Of things for ever speaking, / That nothing of itself will come, / But we must still be seeking.

Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

Thy soul was like a star and dwelt apart.

’Tis said fantastic ocean doth unfold the likeness of whate’er on land is seen.

’Tis, by comparison, an easy task / Earth to despise; but to converse with heaven— / This is not easy.

To me the meanest flower that blows can give / Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

Trust me, that for the instructed, time will come / When they shall meet no object but may teach / Some acceptable lesson to their minds / Of human suffering or human joy. / For them shall all things speak of man.

Truths that wake, / To perish never.

Type of the wise who soar, but never roam, / True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home.

Up! up! my friend, and quit your books, / Or surely you’ll grow double. / Up! up! my friend, and clear your looks, / Why all this toil and trouble?

We have all of us one human heart.

We live by admiration, hope, and love; / And even as these are well and wisely fix’d, / In dignity of being we ascend.

We must be free or die who speak the tongue / That Shakespeare spake, the faith and morals hold / Which Milton held.

We poets in our youth begin in gladness, / But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.

We wear a face of joy because / We have been glad of yore.

What were mighty Nature’s self? / Her features could they win us, / Unhelp’d by the poetic voice / That hourly speaks within us?

Who would check the happy feeling / That inspires the linnet’s song? / Who would stop the swallow wheeling / On her pinions swift and strong?

Why should we crave a hallow’d spot? / An altar is in each man’s cot, / A church in every grove that spreads / Its living roof above our heads.

Wings have we—and as far as we can go, / We may find pleasure: wilderness and wood, / Blank ocean and mere sky, support that mood / Which with the lofty, sanctifies the low.

Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.

Wisdom sits with children round her knees.